Call for applications: 2 PhD positions at the Research Centre for East European Studies




University of Bremen (Germany) within the Innovative Training Network (ITN)

Mapping Uncertainties, Challenges and Future Opportunities of Emerging Markets: Informal Barriers, Business Environments and Future Trends in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia (MARKETS)

funded by an MSCA grant of the European Union in the context of Horizon 2020 (Grant agreement no: 861034)


Within MARKETS two PhD positions are available at the Research Centre for East European Studies (Forschungsstelle Osteuropa) at the University of Bremen

Deadline for applications: 10 July 2020

Starting date for selected PhD students: 01 September 2020

Successful candidates will have to complete a PhD thesis related to one of the following two topics within the contract period of 3 years:

  • [ESR6] Foreign corporations in the post-socialist region: adapting to, using, or resisting the business environment and legal culture in Russia and Central Asia

Objectives: Study the learning processes of foreign companies and the role of foreign business associations in the region on the basis of one or several case studies (preferably in the context of a mixed methods research design); collect new qualitative data and process existing quantitative data; contribute to debates on informality and business and to practical understanding of the region

  • [ESR8]: Informal ways to deal with asymmetric shocks, foreign economic sanctions and/or hard currency shortage in relatively closed or de facto state-controlled economies or sectors

Objectives: Explore competition between state and economic actors dealing with currency exchange and/or import substitution policies in the context of closely controlled economic systems on the basis of one or several case studies (potentially in the context of a mixed methods research design); collect new data; contribute to debates on governance

The two selected candidates will get an employment contract for a period of three years at the Research Centre for East European Studies and will register as doctoral students with the University of Bremen. Prof Dr Heiko Pleines and Prof Dr Michael Rochlitz will act as prime supervisors. Each selected candidate will be seconded to the target region for data collection and will subsequently be seconded to a non-academic partner to gain a hands-on work experience on how research skills can be used beyond academia for the benefit of the governmental, private or international development sector. The selected candidates can opt to join the Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences (, one of Germany’s most respected social sciences graduate schools. The Innovative Training Network MARKETS will provide substantial training and networking opportunities as well as collective team-exercises (related to data collection and non-academic training programmes) for a group of 15 PhD researchers.

Further full partners in the ITN are: Dublin City University (coordinator), University of Helsinki, Catholic University Leuven, University College London, Maastricht University, Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, Tallinn University of Technology and the Center for Social Sciences (Tbilisi).

Applicants are advised to check their eligibility under MSCA rules.

Major criteria are:

  • Mobility clause: Candidates must not have been resident or carried out activities in Germany for more than 12 months in the past three years (up to July 2020).
  • Candidates must have less than 4 years of research experience after their Master's degree and have not earned a doctoral degree yet. Applicants also need to meet the criteria for admission to doctoral studies at the University of Bremen, including a Master’s degree in a social science discipline (preferably political science, sociology or economics)

The application package should include

  • cover letter
  • short CV
  • draft of a research design for one of the above mentioned two PhD projects (max 3 pages)
  • name and contact details of three referees who can comment on the applicant's professional competences and/or academic capacity

Please submit your complete application package by email as one pdf file.

Applications received by 10 July 2020 will be given full consideration. Short-listed candidates will be asked to submit their full Master thesis for evaluation. The Research Centre for East European Studies (Forschungsstelle Osteuropa) at the University of Bremen is an equal opportunity employer. Women are particularly encouraged to apply. In case of equal personal aptitudes and qualification priority will be given to persons with disabilities.

Informal enquiries and full applications should be addressed to Prof Dr Heiko Pleines,